ate boxes only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship. tonight on "nightline" -- america's most wanted. he searched for jaycee dugard, helped bring elizabeth smart home. and he never stopped looking for his own sown's killer. two decades later, why john walsh is still on a mission to protect america's kids. apocalypse 2012. sound like legend? or do some actually fear the world may end? we take an exotic journey to see how believers are getting ready. plus, shark attack. we have a close-up look as sport and science collide, and the world's most dangerous predator becomes the deadliest catch. >> announcer: from the global
resources of abc news, with terry moran, martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," november 13th, 200 9. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. he is a crime fighter of the first rank in america. and a protech of of children. john walsh, driven by the abduction and murder of his own son adam, has been asking viewers to help break the biggest cases for more than two decades with his focus often on missing kids. take a 1991 story he did about a missing girl named jaycee dugard, who 18 years later has been reunited with her family. for the tireless john walsh, it is just another reminder of why his work is never done. ryan owens has tonight's report. >> reporter: for more than two decades, john walsh has been hunting the country's most dangerous criminals. >> next time i see allen white's
face, i want to see bars in front of it. now it's time to do some business. >> reporter: he's helped put more than 1,000 of them behind bars. serial killers, child abductors, rapists. >> we've caught 17 guys off the fbi's ten most wanted. >> reporter: to find out more about the tough guy in the black leather jacket, we went behind the scenes of his show, "america's most wanted." we spent a full day with him on location near san francisco. >> go "nightline." one of my favorite shows. >> reporter: he's in the bay area on the trial of an alleged gang land killer, rafael campbell. >> these are the rifles like the ones police say campbell used. >> reporter: the murder of charles davis is virtually unknown. but walsh has a way of turning these local cases into national stories. he's done it for years.
>> we're doing everything we can to help you. >> reporter: from elizabeth smart -- >> have you seen jaycee lee dugard? >> reporter: to jaycee dugard. >> both a man and a woman were in the car, but jaycee's father only got a good look at the woman. >> reporter: he first highlighted her in 1991, just four days after she was abducted from a northern california bus stop. >> please, this little girl needs be returned to her family. >> reporter: did you think that girl would be found? >> it's a miracle. it's a wonderful, wonderful ending to a really sad story. >> reporter: what drives walsh is his own really sad story, minus that wonderful ending. >> adam was kidnapped from a sears department store at a hollywood mall. >> reporter: it's a story as tragic as it is well known. his 6-year-old son adam was abducted from a shopping mall in florida on july 27th, 1981. >> just appreciate anything that anyone could give us any information on. >> reporter: as it turned out,
the only information was heartbreaking. adam's severed head was found in a canal. the rest of his body, never recovered. and for years, his killer was never caught. >> you waited your whole life for this little boy. you kiss him good-bye one morning and you never see him again. and then you find out two weeks later that somebody decapitated him. >> reporter: but walsh managed to turn that tragedy into action. he and his wife created the national center for missing and exploited children. and he began hosting "america's most wanted" in 1988. >> welcome to the premiere of "america's most wanted." >> reporter: from the start, cases of children were a mainstay. some people say you do too much fear mongering. do you plead guilty to any of that? >> i believe that knowledge is power. i don't believe in paranoia or fear mongering. i believe we have an obligation to tell our kids that somebody might hurt the them some day. >> we belong to the same club.
parents of murdered sons. >> reporter: on the set, walsh makes it a point to spend time with victim's families. >> we're going to catch that last coward and get justice for your beautiful son. innocent victim like adam. >> reporter: last year, the walsh family got the closest thing to justy they will ever get. a new police chief in hollywood, florida, closed adam's case, officially declaring that ottis toole, a convicted pedophile and serial killer, kill eed adam. >> if he were alive today, he would be arrested for the abduction of adam walsh. >> for 27 years, we've been asking, who could take a 6-year-old boy and murder him and decapitate him. who? we needed to know. >> reporter: how much justice is there when the guy's already in
jail or the guy's dead? >> it absolutely helps. it absolutely ends that chapter of your life. i believed i knew toole killed adam. but for reve and i, our family, everybody that loved us, cared about us, it was the end of that chapter. >> reporter: take a look at this press conference. it's not just john standing up there, but his wife and three other children, born after adam's murder. you by your own admission have been so obsessed by adam and what happened. has the rest of your family suffered because of that? >> i think absolutely. i've spent most of the time of our daughter megan and callahan, our middle son and hayden, our youngest son, a big portion of their life on the road. >> reporter: a big portion of his life has been spent lobbying for the adam walsh chide protection and safety act, signed by president bush in
2006. it was intended to create a national registry for the most dangerous sex offenders. >> the act mandates that they be tracked. >> reporter: but so far, states have not complied with the law, and critics have charged, it's unfair to minors. >> a great miscon supgs. the adam walsh act says only if you physically or violently offended someone and you are a repeat offend their you're on the registry forever. i don't believe every teenage sex offender should be on it. >> reporter: but certainly for people like phillip garrido, the man charged with kidnapping and repeatedly raping jaycee dugard while she was held in this backyard compound for 18 years. >> i know she's coming home soon. >> reporter: "american's most wanted" featured dugard's case three times. >> it's been exactly six months since the blond sixth grader was kidnapped. while he had jaycee in his
backyard, he violated his parole and went to prison for four months and his psycho wife kept that girl a prisoner. that's a guy that should have never been out there, but i believe once somebody's demonstrated they're an animal, you need to track them. >> reporter: walsh doesn't give up easily. he did a total of eight shows on the case of elizabeth smart. a case he ultimately helped solve. nine months after the 14-year-old was abducted from her bedroom -- >> please let her go. please. >> reporter: an elderly couple who had seen elizabeth's story on "america's most wanted" recognized the suspect and a disguised elizabeth smart. >> it's real! >> the highlight of the 23 years is when the smart family asked me to fly to salt lake city the day that elizabeth was recovered. and when i saw elizabeth walk down the stairs that night, said, this is good.
it's a home run. this twisted hunk of junk was once a shiny, '93 cadillac. >> reporter: with more than 1,000 shows in the can. >> time to go to work. >> reporter: and more than 1,000 criminals behind bars, walsh remains a man on a mission. do you think adam would be proud of his dad? >> i hope so. i think wherever he is, he is. be a 35-year-old man. i don't know, i hope so. i love that little boy. >> reporter: i'm ryan owens for "nightline" in oakland, california. >> a father's mission, and good luck to him. our thanks to ryan owens for that. when we come back, doomsday is approaching, in the eyes of some, anyway. so, should you prepare? (announcer) funny thing about sinus pressure
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it's it's the stuff of religious scripture, hollywood movies and r.e.m. anthems the end of the world as we know it. for a small group of extremely devoted people, devoted to the mayan calendar, that may mean that doomsday is approaching, perhaps set for december 2012. so, is the world really coming to an end? david wright went searching for clues of the apocalypse. >> reporter: what if and ancient civilization would predict the future and calculate the end of time itself? >> the mayan calendar predicts the end of time to occur in 2012. >> reporter: that's the premise of "2012," that the apocalypse is coming on december 21st, 2012. mark your calendars and say your prayers. plenty of folks believe it just might be possible. >> i believe the mayan calendar was based on some incredit bring
good astronomy. they were really good at knowing when. they weren't so good at saying what's going to happen then. >> reporter: lawrence joseph imagines the scenario not unlike another hollywood movie due out later this month, the film adaptation of the novel "the road." >> how many people do you think are still alive? >> in the world? not very many. >> reporter: cormac mccarthy is purposefully vague about what caused his apocalypse. but joseph believes ours will come from solar flares, bursts of radiation from the sun that will apparently peak at the end of 2012, penetrates the earth's magnetic field. >> in 2012 or sometime soon, our grid is going to be assaulted bid a solar blast that could knock it and our civilization to its knees. >> reporter: he and other 2012-ers look to the ancient mayan calendar, where time began or about august 11th, 3014 b.c.,
and it will end on the winter solstice of 2012. >> that is the last day of this calendar called the long count. and this long count calendar was invented about 2100 years ago in southern mexico. >> reporter: so, in search of answers, southern mexico is where we went. deep in the central american jungles, to a place where it is easy to imagine a flood lasting 40 days and 40 nights. we searched for clues amid the ruins of the ancient mayans, in the city. >> this is where we believe they sacrificed captives. >> reporter: our guide? christopher powell, who helped with some of the most important excavations for this civilization that mysterious livanished more than 1,000 years ago. >> i consider it a big mystery, one that i'm willing to see out. >> reporter: the rosetta stone for 2012 versus something called the monument number six.
a collection of hieroglyphics unearthed in the 1960s and scattered to the four corners of the earth. one fragment is kept in new york's metropolitan museum, but they wouldn't allow us to film it. a good chunk of it is in a museum in mexico. this is the main museum? >> yeah. this is the museum. >> reporter: we went there, but the museum was closed due to flood damage. the two remaining fragments have been missing for decades. last photographed more than 40 greerps ago, they are the key to unlocking the secrets of the monument number six. a few years ago, a mayan scholar translated the text and set out r off a fire storm. >> it's saying that the deity appears on december 21st of 2012, and he descends and he performs a ritual. >> it says, and then it happened, and then the verb is
missing. it's eroded. >> reporter: that missing verb has opened a pandora's box of new age prophesy. in the ancient city, we met star johnsen-moser who believes her crystal skulls feed her information about the coming events of 2012. for star, the new age is truly about to begin. just two years from now. >> reporter: do you think the world as we know it is going to come to an end? think it's going to change. it is in process of changing. perhaps that date, there's a great alignment, a great opportunity, perhaps a great leap in consciousness. >> reporter: others are taking no chances. >> this is the survival condo. formally known as an atlas f intercountinental missile base. >> reporter: larry hall showed us his plans for a decommissioned missile silo he
bought out in kansas, a 15-story luxury bunker built to hose 50 peement indefinitely. how does this relate to 2012? >> well, it has a lot of people concerned. they would rather have a plan b, and this plan b beats everyone else's plan a, b and c. >> reporter: noah's ark for the paranoid man who has everything. >> i guess people were skeptical of noah, too. >> word has it. >> reporter: each condo will be stocked with enough food to last four years. >> this is four man years of food right here. >> reporter: complex will also be outfitted with agriculture and treated water. fireplace? >> it is. >> reporter: there's a fitness room and an indoor infinity pool. how much does this go for? >> there's two configuration. $1,750,000, and a half floor at 900,000 decide. >> reporter: have you sold any? >> yes, three. >> reporter: all of them, cash up front.
hard to justify a mortgage when you are betting that the world is going to end. one person who won't be getting out his checkbook is christopher powell. should we be worrieworried? >> i'm not worried. i don't think so. there's no real reason. there's no real prophesy that says this is going to be the end of the word, not from the mayan ruins, anyway. >> reporter: what does your gut tell you is going to happen in 2012? >> the sun is going to rise and fall. and a lot only people af peopleo be watching it. >> reporter: i'm david wright for "nightline" in mexico. >> or maybe not. thanks to david wright for that. and when we come back, hunting a predator, up close. it's the great white sharks like you've never seen them before.
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>> an >> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran. >> they are among the world's most dangerous predators. an animal you are wise to avoid, except for the group you are about to meet. they go out and seek them. think jaws, but in this case, the objective is not the kill the shark, but to keep it alive and learn from it. vicky maybury has our report.
>> oh, my god. that is giant. >> reporter: no one has ever done what chris fisher and his crew are about to accomplish. fisher and his team are world class anglers. they have spent years catching and releasing the biggest fish in the ocean. but none like this. the real deadliest catch, the breathtaking great white shark. >> 16 feet. >> reporter: while others have caught sharks this size, no one has successfully take an white shark this big out of the water alive, tagged it with a long-term tracking device, and returns it safely to the ocean, providing previously unknown insight into how great whites live, feed and breed. >> we felt like we might be the only people in the world that could deliver a mature white shark to one of the world's leading scientists to zo this puzzle could be solved. >> they are a top predator. not that many of them and they
are quite vulnerable. we can't protect them unless we know them. >> reporter: this is the direct of the scientific work on the expedition. >> they are going to fight the shark and bring it back to us. >> there's there tremendous awe and respect. you get the bite, and then you have to kind of have to break the shark's will. and you want to do that quick. >> reporter: expedition great white documents a unique collaboration of sport and science. top fishermen helping researcher understand one of the motion's most mysterious creatures. >> wee need to cover its eyes with a wet towel. we need to secure the tail and work on it. >> reporter: once the giant shark is successfully secured on a customized lift, it's a race against the clock to get it tagged and returned to the ocean. the shark may not survive this way longer than 20 minutes. >> it's been out of the water three minutes. >> such concern for the shark and everyone is babying the shark, pouring water on it,
keeping the water flowing. >> reporter: after paul walker, of "the fast and the furious" fame, is one of these caretak caretakers. he works as a deck hand on these expeditions, getting a reward mu money can't buy. >> i've never been apart of anything near as awesome as what we're doing. >> time out of the water is 11 minutes. >> for the first time, the shark's feeling its weight, and it kind of puts him into kind of a weird zone. >> 14 minutes total time of of water. >> we want to get the shark back in the water, and that's the victory, because it's all for naught if the shark dies. >> there she goes. she's swipie i swimming now. >> 20 minutes. >> biggest one ever right there. nice job. >> incredible. >> nice work. >> way to go, guys. >> look at this screen. these are data that were impossible to get until we started catch sharks on this
boat. >> reporter: so far, 17 great white sharks have been caught, tagged and safely returned to the sea, drawing a never before seen map of how these giant predators live in the open water. these expeditions continue, mapping the movement of the great whites and revealing more about the ocean's fiercest predator. >> she swam right away. crazy thing. i don't care what kind of fishing you've done there's no kind of fishing like this. >> a fish tale like no other. this is vicky maybury for "nightline" in new york. >> what beautiful, fascinating animals there. thanks to vicky maybury, and "expedition great white" airs monday night on the national geographic channel. we'll be right back. but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next on "jimmy kimmel live." jimmy? >> jimmy: thanks, terry. on the show tonight, super dave osborne, huey lewis and the news and diddy. together again. ñ